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Jessie Knadler

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Jessie Knadler is the author of Rurally Screwed and coauthor of the preserving cookbook Tart & Sweet. She’s been featured on, in the Washington Post and French Elle. Her writing has appeared in Martha Stewart Living, Newsweek, Self, among many others. She lives in beautiful rural Virginia with her husband and daughter. Jessie blogs at

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The key to redecorating a toddler’s room: baby steps!

By Jessie Knadler |


I love decorating. I love decor. I love glossy magazines and blogs and pin boards devoted to the topic. My problem is that I get so overwhelmed by all the insanely creative and fantastic ideas out there that I usually end up feeling more fetal than inspired…especially when it comes to the decoration of kids’ rooms.

Anymore, it seems like it’s not enough to give a child their own special place to sleep and play. Rather, a kid’s room must inspire creativity and individuality–whimsy! A romp on the back of Aslan through Narnia! A princess fetish!

It’s no wonder my daughter’s bedroom looks like this…

It’s not that the room is so terrible. It is perfectly functional.  It’s just that there is nothing about it that says “child” or “youthful” or “organized” about it.

It looks like a home office that had been haphazardly turned into a nursery by a harried parent (*cough, cough*) just coming to grips with the reality that her toddler is no longer an unassuming baby who can fit neatly into this drawer.

Aaah, those were the days.

A year and change later, it’s gotten to the point where my eyes actually hurt when I enter June’s bedroom.

It’s so disorganized. Random piles of clothes everywhere, a doll house in front of a bookcase next to a toy chest.  There’s no intention. There’s no focus.  There’s no Feng Shui.  Hold on, I feel a fainting spell coming on…

By far the biggest eyesore in this room is this…

What is that, you say?

Why, it’s a still unopened printer box on which a wireless router and modem are incongruously displayed, of course.  How’s that for unlocking a child’s whimsy and creativity?  (The router and modem have to stay in this room for reasons too boring to go into.)

I have to redecorate and reorganize June’s bedroom, but I want to do it in a way I can actually manage:  Without spending a lot of money, without expert condescension help, and without succumbing to the notion that a little girl’s bedroom must resemble Xanadu.

The first thing I did was install two storage bins from The Home Depot (one sits on the floor and the other mounts to the wall).In that one relatively simple move, I was able to bring a sense of order to her room, remove clutter and create more space.   Bonus: The floor unit provided a somewhat less intrusive spot for the router and modem. No more printer box as side table!

Two seconds after the installation, I immediately felt better, like perhaps the task of redecorating a child’s bedroom doesn’t have to be so all consuming and fantastically mind blowing.  The key , I realized, is to approach it like I would any other large, amorphous task that makes me want to kill myself (writing a book): Break it up into small, doable chunks—baby steps.  One small improvement, like a new storage unit, snowball into others. I’m already thinking paint colors, wall murals and decorative light switch plate covers….and maybe there’s a way to turn that printer box into a fantastical time machine.

* A big thanks to The Home Depot for sponsoring this campaign.  Click here to see more of the discussion.


CHECK OUT JESSIE’S PREVIOUS POSTS When archaic farming practices prevail The top 6 reasons why our toddler does chores The Disciplinarian versus The Coddler




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About Jessie Knadler


Jessie Knadler

Jessie Knadler is the author of Rurally Screwed and coauthor of the cookbook Tart & Sweet. She’s been featured on the Katie Couric talk show,, the Washington Post, French Elle and made the cover of the New York Post. Her writing has appeared in Martha Stewart Living, Newsweek, among many others. She lives in beautiful rural Virginia with her soldier husband, her two year old daughter and a wily dog from Afghanistan. Read bio and latest posts → Read Jessie's latest posts →

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14 thoughts on “The key to redecorating a toddler’s room: baby steps!

  1. Jessie says:

    hahah I don’t know why your baby was in that drawer, but that’s a great picture

  2. Kelly K. says:

    I don’t know what you’re talking about! even before organizing, her room wasn’t THAT bad! I’ve seen mucchhhh worse

  3. Stephanie Judith says:

    Those shelves are just soo prettyyy!! I keep seeing them all over the place, and I feel Iike I’m going to have to run out and get some right now!

  4. Texas Mom says:

    HAHA that baby in the drawer. Hilarious

  5. Stephanie Judith says:

    I’ve always wanted to do a pretty mural in my kids’ rooms too. I think you can even buy those cute decals if you’re not so hand with the paint (like me)…!

  6. Diane says:

    Please be very cautious about having a router and modem in a bedroom – the wireless activity is potentially harmful. I am not one of those hippy anti technology types – in fact I love our wireless network! However I would not want to be in a room for too long with the router – and would definitely not recommend it for a child’s bedroom, where they spend a considerable amount of time sleeping.

    1. Jessie Knadler says:

      Interesting. I had not heard that before! Thanks for the tip.

  7. laurenjimeson says:

    Love the picture of her in the drawer! Too funny! Those shelves that mount on the wall are great. Such a good organizational idea and I love that is doesn’t take up room on the floor.

  8. Chelsea says:

    Seems like such a daunting task, but I think the shelving is such a nice touch. Love the hat hooks on the wall-mounted one.

  9. Olivia says:

    Looks great! Baby steps is definitely the way to go :)

  10. Polly says:

    It’s amazing how much one little change makes a difference! Good start.

  11. Whit says:

    I still sleep in a drawer. It’s a big dresser.

  12. [...] a initial push from The Home Depot, I’m determined to continue my campaign to redecorate June’s room even if it kills me. [...]

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